Dunker Church Service at Antietam National Battlefield Set for September 16

Photo by Regina Holmes
The Dunker Church at Antietam, a Civil War battlefield, is a symbol of the role to which the Brethren are called–to be a place of refuge in a time of violence.

The 42nd Annual Dunker Church Service at Antietam National Battlefield Park is planned for Sept. 16. The worship service will begin at 3 p.m. at the historic Civil War site in Sharpsburg, Md., sponsored by Church of the Brethren congregations in Maryland and West Virginia.

Preaching for the service is Phil Stone, well-known throughout the Church of the Brethren as a past moderator of Annual Conference in 1991, former president of Bridgewater (Va.) College 1994-2010, and a noted Abraham Lincoln scholar and Civil War historian. Stone practices law with his three children in Harrisonburg, Va. His sermon topic will be “Lincoln and Antietam: Peacemaker or Warrior.”

“This worship service is similar to an 1862 Dunker Worship Service and is held in the restored Mumma Meeting House, commonly referred to today as the Dunker Church,” said an announcement from the organizers. “This year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. We extend our gratitude to the National Park Service for their cooperation, for the use of this meeting house, and the loan of the Mumma Bible.”

As they publicize the service, organizers also are sharing a quote generally attributed to E. Russell Hicks, now deceased, a former member of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren: “It is the hope of the Brethren that the little white church on the Antietam Battlefield may be to our troubled world a symbol of tolerance, love, brotherhood, and service–a witness to the spirit of Him [the Christ] whom we seek to serve.”

For more information call one of the following pastors who are involved in the service: Eddie Edmonds at 304-267-4135 or 304-671-4775; Tom Fralin at 301-432-2653 or 301-667-2291; or Ed Poling at 301-733-3565.

In related news, a stamp from the US Postal Service commemorating the sesquicentennial of the battle at Antietam shows the Dunker meetinghouse in the background, go to https://ecom-prod.usps.com/store/browse/productDetailSingleSku.jsp?productId=S_577040&categoryId=subcatS_S_Sheets . The story of the meetinghouse and its Mumma Bible are on the National Parks Service website at www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/dunkerchurch.htm .

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